Daily Archives: December 9, 2009

Fiona Harvey

Todd Stern lived up to his name today when he arrived at the Copenhagen climate summit.

The first engagement for the  US special envoy for climate change, as soon as he stepped off the plane, was a press conference. He lost no time in taking a swing at China.

Mr Stern made it abundantly clear that the US did not believe China should receive aid to help it cut emissions, and that US taxpayers’ money would certainly not be forthcoming for the purpose.

“I do not envision public funds, certainly not from the US, going to China. We would intend to direct our public funds to the neediest countries,” he said.

Kate Mackenzie

FT Energy Source is posting a daily question for our panel of expert commentators. Below are responses from panel members Bjørn Lomborg, Kyoto Protocol carbon trading architect Graciela Chichilnisky, Robert Stavins of Harvard, Jeremy Leggett of Solarcentury, Vivienne Cox of Climate Change Capital, David Jones of Havas and Julian Morris of The International Policy Network.

Should sceptics be given a greater voice at the Copenhagen conference, given that recent polls, particularly in the US, show widespread doubts that climate change is manmade?

Robert Stavins: The key question is not whether particular views are represented at the Copenhagen conference and other climate negotiations, but whether access to the various events is made available to people with diverse views. In terms of the negotiating teams, the views of members are presumably representative of the respective governments, and there is – to put it mildly – a considerable diversity of perspectives across the negotiating teams, if not in regard to basic science, then surely in regard to issues of economics and policy.

FT Energy Source

By Andrew Ward

Developing countries have been complaining all week about rich countries conspiring against them as the two blocs spar over how to share the burden of tackling climate change. The developing world’s persecution complex will hardly have been helped by news that a senior Chinese delegate was barred from entering the conference venue three times in as many days.

“Yesterday, I was very unhappy. Today I am extremely unhappy,” said Su Wei, China’s top negotiator, explaining how an unnamed colleague had his registration badges confiscated by conference security. “This is something unacceptable. We have a saying in China… things can happen once or twice, but it should not be tolerated again.”

Kate Mackenzie

On FT Energy Source:

- Those ‘Danish draft’ figures debunked

- The Danish draft: A storm that will not benefit developing countries?

- The climate G2: US and China compared

- Copenhagen daily wrap: Draftgate, data and a new climate tax

- Our expert panel on whether developed or developing countries should blink first

- Asian growth brings three big LNG projects closer to reality

- ExxonMobil outlook underlines efficiency

- Natural gas producers’ confab and Sudanese oil in Spot news

Further reading:

- Climategate: A hack, or a leak? (Environmental Capital/WSJ)

- Hacked email scientists receive death threats (environmentalresearchnetwork/Guardian)

- Hacked emails revisited (Pew Climate Center)

- A useful data point for explaining why the dollar and commodity prices move together (Econbrowser)

- Carbon prices soared ahead of Copenhagen – but does it matter? (The Telegraph)

- Bangladesh wants 15% of global climate fund (Xinhua)

- Engine-makers versus high ethanol mandate: How to break the impasse (R-squared)

- Lost opportunity for a transport agreement at Copenhagen (Rice University/Chron.com)

- The prospects for global cooperation (GreenLaw)

- Those mass Copenhagen editorials were a little like… LiveAid (Megan McArdle/The Atlantic)

Kate Mackenzie

Mexico last year took a gamble that the high oil prices seen around the middle of the year wouldn’t last: it hedged all of its 2009 oil exports at a cost of $1.5bn. The move paid off in spades, earning the country a $5bn windfall.

Agustín Carstens, Mexico’s finance minister, was dubbed ‘the world’s most successful, but worst-paid oil trader’ when last year’s hedge reaped $5bn.

Now the country has taken out a similar insurance policy against crude prices falling below $57 a barrel. The move is a sign that Mexico isn’t counting on today’s relatively high levels of market exuberance to last – and many pundits believe that current crude price levels are unjustified.

Kate Mackenzie

China and the US – the ‘G2′ of climate talks – are the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters and their commitments about future emissions will be crucial to keeping within the climate change safety range suggested by scientists. The FT has a number of graphics showing how the two countries stack up in terms of their current emissions from energy – and what they would need to do to cut (or curb) these levels adequately. As this first one shows, the two countries dwarf others when it comes to emissions:

Click through to view at full size. The solid colour shows 2007 emissions; the dotted outline is where their emissions will be in 2030 under a ‘business as usual’ scenario by the US Energy Information Administration.

Kate Mackenzie

Two reports dominated yesterday’s news and are set to continue today: new temperature data, and the controversy over a draft Copenhagen agreement being circulated.

The hottest decade

Data from the UN’s World Meterological Organization and the UK’s Met Office that this decade will be the warmest on record, and 2009 looks likely to be the fifth-hottest year ever – and the absolute hottest in some parts of the world (FT). The Met Office data, perhaps ironically, was released in response to calls for greater transparency from sceptics (The Times). And it plans to release more data, plus its workings (WSJ).

Draft text triggers furore

The Guardian’s reports of a draft Copenhagen agreement that could disappoint developing countries was widely picked up, and the newspaper writes that the conference was ‘in disarray’ because of the draft. The G77′s current leader, Lumumba Stanislas Dia Ping, said it “threatened the success” of negotiations, but so far the most vocal critics are the NGOs, writes Fiona Harvey. The draft itself is not an official one, as UN climate chief Yvo de Boer stressed, and reports impose a lower per-person emissions limit on developing countries than on rich countries are simply not borne out by the document itself, Harvey writes.  More from the FT.

Kate Mackenzie

Mexico hedges on oil prices
$1bn bet shows producers remain wary of double-dip recession (FT)

India builds on Sudanese oil interests
Governments sign agreement to increase exploration, production and infrastructure (FT)

China exports to US may be cut by climate plan
Border tax would substantially reduce US imports from China, World Bank study finds (Bloomberg)

Natural gas producers seek to keep oil price link
Industry meeting in Qatar addresses glut problem (Bloomberg)

Fiona Harvey

The more the spotlight falls upon this Danish text, the more like a Danish pastry it looks.

Here’s an assertion from Newsweek:

“Under the plan, by 2050 poor countries would have to limit per capita emissions at 1.44 tons, while rich countries would be given extra leeway at 2.67 tons per person.”

Really? Well, that would be absolutely shocking – if it bore any relation to the document.

So, where do those figures appear in the draft text?

Can you find them?

Fiona Harvey

There has been plenty of hot air about the leak of the so-called “Danish draft” – the text of a potential communique that could form the basis of any statement from Copenhagen.

The text contains language on some of the issues that must be settled if the summit is to have an outcome.

But the text has been attacked as a “secret” document prepared by developed nations, which would damage the interests of poor countries.

First of all, let’s get things in perspective.

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